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Monday, 19 November 2012 00:00
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Experts appraise how loss adjuster aid insurance claim settlement

The issue of claim settlement in the insurance industry is never completed without the work of loss adjusters. In this report, KAYODE ADELOWOKAN looks at the critical role of loss adjusting in insurance compensation. Loss adjusting does not only complement insurance services, it is usually regarded as the livewire of insurance services.

The fact that insurance service is never completed without the issue of claim settlement makes loss adjusting a sin qua non to better insurance service delivery. Underwriting firms, as they are known, warehouse pools of insurance funds for various classes of insurance, thus acting as trustees for the policyholders.

The main objective of their business is to provide indemnity and benefits at the critical time to distressed policyholders and other claimants. The role of loss adjuster is to independently facilitate the settlement of insurance claims.

While a loss adjuster ensures that the insured receives indemnity, which is the central principle of insurance, indemnity ensures that the insured is placed in the financial position in which he was immediately before the loss.

To this end, the role of loss adjusters in insurance business cannot be over-emphasised, as they serve as an intermediary between an insurer and the insured.

Roles of Loss Adjusters in Insurance Industry: Mr. Remi Olowude, Chairman, Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) said the activities of loss adjusters are critical to the success of insurance industry, as they independently facilitate the settlement of insurance claims.

Olowude who was speaking at the investiture ceremony of Mr. ‘Lebi Omoboyewa, President, Institute of Loss Adjusters of Nigeria (ILAN) said to provide the essential services which require achieving the ultimate purpose of insurance business, a loss adjuster’s role is an embodiment of fairness, equity and balance.

Acting on instructions of an insurance company, he said the loss adjuster undertakes the inspection of damage, investigates and reports the cause and makes recommendations regarding how best to reinstate or settle the claim in accordance with the terms and conditions of insurance policy.The loss adjuster, he said, ensures that the insured receives indemnity, which is the central principle of insurance.

According to him, “loss adjusters are multi-disciplinary, top level independent professionally qualified persons who are expected to operate with the highest integrity, observing code of professional ethics and international best practices in conducting their practice.”

The NIA president advised loss adjusters to continually improve their knowledge, acquire additional modern skills in the discharge of their duties and be conversant with contemporary trends and features of disasters and events which cause damages and losses.

While the insurance industry still need foreign experts to adjust claims in oil and gas, aviation, engineering, shipping and maritime sectors, he called on local loss adjusters to gradually learn how to adjust claims in those critical sectors.

Appealing to them to be diligent in their duties, he said the loss adjusters must not allow themselves to be intimidated to short-change the claimant or even be induced by the claimant to compromise and work against the interest of the insurer.

As companies cross boundaries to reap the benefit of globalisation, he said the insurance and loss adjusting activities will increase with an attendant need for innovative and efficient services. This scenario, Olowude said, will undoubtedly task the professionalism of practitioners, to evolve more effective approaches for emerging patronage of the industry. 

The President, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria (CIIN), Mr. Wole Adetimehin appealed to insurance operators to remunerate loss adjusters very well, to retain good hands. This, he said is needed, to ensure that loss adjusters does their job professionally and without cutting corners.

Barrister Laide Osijo, President, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) had at one time, called on Ilan, NCRIB, CIIN, NIA and other insurance bodies to partner and be united in a bid to move the industry forward.

Mr. Ebenezer Abiola Akinbolade, former commissioner for Training and Establishment, Lagos State is calling on them (loss adjusters) to respond to claims in a timely manner, by prompt arrival to sites to survey damage.

Akinbolade however appealed to loss adjusters to show high level of professionalism in the discharge of their duties, avoid cutting corners and be diligent, even, as he advised them to imbibe the rule of corporate governance.

While stating that the development of insurance industry should not be left in the hand of the insurance operators alone, he believe loss adjusters can join hands with operators to develop the market and build enough credibility for the industry.

Through this, he said the insurance market in Nigeria will be highly respected in the commity of countries in the world.

Believing that prompt settlement of claims can build the expected positive image for industry, he said loss adjusters will have to work with speed to avoid delay in compensation which may further threaten the credibility of underwriting firms.

We have to work hard as loss adjusters, be fast to respond to claim issues and if this is done, the sector is destined for glory, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr. ‘Lebi Omoboyewa, who officially took over as the 9th president of the Ilan recently promised to obtain a charter for the institute before the expiration of his tenure.

He said the institute had started the pursuit of being chartered since 2005, and it is yet to get it.“We pushed the  Charter Bill up to the public hearing stage at the last National Assembly (House of Representative), but the lower house did not forward it for consideration by the Senate from where it ought to go for president’s ascent,” he said.

Omoboyewa however said the institute has renewed this pursuit, with the hope that its Chartered status will be achieved before the expiration of the tenure of the current National Assembly. 

However, to be effective in the loss adjusting, ‘Lebi Omoboyewa, said one  must have sound knowledge of insurance and policy wordings as well as the ability to absorb information quickly. Loss adjuster must have tact and understanding when dealing with claimants, witnesses or when carrying out investigation while honesty and impartiality must be the watchword, he said.

Speaking on his association which comprises of loss adjusters in the country, he said his administration will obtain charter status for its members.

If loss adjusters are chartered, he believes this will put the practitioners in a respectable status, and will be well respected in other countries of the world.

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